Grilling season is a fun time of year. With a grill, you can cook a sumptuous meal without heating up your house. Plus, it can serve as a great excuse to entertain, inviting friends and family members over to enjoy some great food and fun times.
But what about when your grill is not in use? Are there steps you should be taking to keep your grill in tip-top shape? Is there something you need to do to prepare your grill for storage over the winter?
If you’re trying to figure out how to keep your grill in the best shape possible, then you’re in luck. The process requires a bit of elbow grease and the right products, but it’s pretty simple to complete. Here’s a step-by-step process for ensuring your gas or charcoal grill is properly maintained and stored.
Cleaning Your Grill
1. Pick Up the Right Products
While you don’t need a ton of products to whip your grill into shape, you do need a few. By keeping them on-hand, you’ll be ready to tackle even the biggest grill messes quickly and easily.
Here’s what you need:
- Grill Cleaner
- Dish Soap with Grease-Cutting Power
- Stiff-Bristled Scrub Brush
- Metal Grill Brush
- Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
Both grill cleaner and dish soap can be excellent for busting through grease, making them essential parts of your grill cleaning kit. The metal grill brush helps power through tough messes, loosening up stuck-on food, and other kinds of buildup.
You want a stiff bristles scrub brush (like an upholstery brush) for two reasons. One, it can help you get to some hard to reach spots that might not be accessible with a metal grill brush. Second, the plastic bristles are a better choice for delicate surfaces that metal bristles may harm.
The bucket allows you to create a soap mixture and have it nearby. Additionally, you can fill it with clean water for rinsing.
There are some optional parts to a kit. For example, you may want a hose to rinse off your grill. If you’re concerned about the chemicals in grill cleaner, then switch that out for baking soda and distilled white vinegar.
2. Prepare Your Grill for Cleaning
First and foremost, you should never clean your grill while it is still hot. High temperatures can cause cleaner to burn, sizzle, smoke, or produce steam, which could be harmful. Let your grill cool completely before you start cleaning.
Next, if you’re using a propane grill, turn off the propane completely. Also, take a moment to check the connections. If you’re concerned that they aren’t as tight as they should be, you can check them by place some soapy water around them. If you see bubbles, you need to tighten the connections more or, if the lines have degraded, replace them.
3. Scrub the Grill Plates
Now it’s time for some of that elbow grease we mentioned above. Grab your metal grill brush and start working on the grill plates. You want to get as much off as possible at this stage, especially if your grill has cast iron grates.
Cast iron is porous, so it can absorb cleaners. You don’t actually want to use soap on cast iron. Instead, you want to remove the food debris and allow the grease to season the metal.
After you get the initial scrubbing done, remove the grill plates.
4. Clean the Burner Protectors
With the grill plates out of the way, you should be able to reach the burner protectors (if you have them). Usually, these are smaller. If they’ll fit in your bucket, place them in there with some soapy water and let them soak. After that, a quick wipe down is usually enough.
5. Handle Trays and Grill Bottom
If your grill has removable trays, take them out. Dump off any loose material, using your metal grill brush to get any stubborn pieces loosened up.
Once the trays are set to the side, check the lower plates and sides. Use your grill brush to scrub off any stuck-on mess.
If you don’t have removable trays, then use your grill brush to scrape up as much debris from the bottom of your grill as you can. Make sure to not just focus on the bottom, but on the corners and sides, as well.
6. Start with the Cleaner
Once you’ve gotten as much debris out of the way as possible and the various components removed and set elsewhere, it’s time for cleaner. With spray grill cleaner, coat the inside of the grill and let it sit for about five minutes. After that, gran your grill brush and scrub any baked-on grime.
You can also do this process with baking soda and vinegar instead of grill cleaner if you prefer. It may take more elbow grease, but it can work.
7. Time for Soapy Water
Once you’re done with the grill cleaner, it’s on to soapy water. Fill your bucket with soapy water and grab your scrub brush. Work over your grill’s interior, tackling any remaining grease and build up.
You can also use the soapy water on the other parts. The only exception is cast iron grill plates, which should not come in contact with soap or cleaner.
If your water starts getting pretty dirty, change it out for fresh soapy water. You might have to do this a couple of times, depending on the condition of your grill.
8. Give It a Rinse and Reassemble
Once your grill is clean, consider hosing it off. That will help get rid of any remaining debris and soap or cleaner residue.
Let the pieces sit and dry completely. Then, reassemble your grill.
9. Season Your Grill (Optional)
If your grill is new or you have cast iron plates, you may need to season it. Wipe the inside (and any outside metal pieces) down with cooking oil (usually, vegetable oil). Then, turn the grill on at a high temperature and let it run for about half an hour. That’ll burn off the oil and create a coating that will protect the metal.
After the grill has run, let it cool. Then, grab a cloth and give it a good wipe down.
Storing Your Grill
If you’re going to spend that much time cleaning your grill, then storing it properly is a must. The easiest way to protect your grill is to invest in a great grill cover.
Luckily, there are some amazing grill covers available. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty option, the Grillman Premium BBQ Grill Cover is an excellent choice. The Grillman grill cover is incredibly durable and is available in several sizes. Plus, it features side straps, allowing you to achieve a near-custom fit. You’ll get ample protection from the elements, ensuring your grill stays in tip-top shape all year-round.